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Author: TheConversation

The Good Lord Bird: Re-examining abolitionist John Brown’s moral crusade to end slavery

By Adam Seagrave, Associate Professor of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Arizona State University One of the most under-appreciated figures in the nation’s history, John Brown, has been introduced to Americans by the recent Showtime series “The Good Lord Bird,” based on the James McBride novel of the same name. Too often dismissed as a failed zealot, Brown was an unconventional anti-slavery leader who blazed a trail that Abraham Lincoln would follow just a few years later. Commentators then and now are more likely to see differences between Lincoln’s and Brown’s approaches to civic leadership. Lincoln was cautious...

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Why journalism continues to struggle against the disproportionate influence of social media companies

By Vanessa Freije, Assistant Professor, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington Facebook barred Australians from finding or sharing news on its platform, in response to an Australian government proposal to require social media networks to pay journalism organizations for their content. The move is already reducing online readership of Australian news sites, with dark implications for America and other nations. Similar to what happened when Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s account in January, the fight with Australia is again raising debate around social media networks’ enormous control over people’s access to information. Australia’s prime minister, Scott...

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A lifelong family bond: How Black Sororities have led Black achievements for more than a century

By Tamara L. Brown, Executive Dean and Professor of Psychology, University of North Texas In her speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention Kamala Harris saluted seven women who “inspired us to pick up the torch and fight on.” All but two of them, one of whom was her mother, belonged to Black sororities. Harris also mentioned her own Black sorority, saying: “Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha.” Many Americans may have wondered why Harris would invoke sororities on such an occasion. But not me. Like her, I am a proud member of a Black sorority: Delta Sigma...

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Vaccine Availability: How internet access can determine the health of minorities

By Tamra Burns Loeb, Adjunct Associate Professor – Interim; UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities, University of California, Los Angeles; AJ Adkins-Jackson, Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University; and Arleen F. Brown, Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles Racial and ethnic minority communities that lack internet access have been left behind in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The average monthly cost of internet access, about $70, can be out of reach for those who can barely afford groceries. Reporters and scholars have written about the effects of...

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An overdue apology: Why slave-trading nations like America are morally bound to offer reparations

By Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University The 20th anniversary of the UN World Conference on Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, will be celebrated this August. There was much discussion at the conference about reparations to Africa for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in which millions of Africans were captured to provide free labour in North and South America and the Caribbean for over four and a half centuries. Unfortunately, the conference was overshadowed by the 9/11 attacks on the US several days after it ended. The question of whether reparations...

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An alternative to road salt: Scientists explore nontoxic de-icing options extracted from aquatic life

By Monika Bleszynski, Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor, University of Denver Many people associate a fresh snowfall with pleasures like hot chocolate and winter sports. But for city dwellers, it can also mean caked-on salt that sticks to shoes, clothing hems and cars. That is because as soon as the mercury dips below freezing and precipitation is in the forecast, local governments start spreading de-icing salts to keep roads from freezing over. These salts are typically a less-refined form of table salt, or sodium chloride, but can also include other compounds, such as magnesium chloride and potassium chloride. They...

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